#PigOutOKC is brought to you by the Oklahoma Pork Council. Twice a month we’ll be delving into restaurants and recipes that bring home the bacon (among other delicious cuts of pork). Experiencing your own pork-fueled adventure? Use the hashtag #PigOutOKC to let the rest of us in on the fun.
Pork chops are to pigs what steaks are to cows.
There’s something really delightful about a primal cut of meat. It’s solid and it’s real and it used to be alive in a semi-recognizable way. Not that I don’t use ground pork, beef, turkey, etc., but it’s a lot harder to feel any connection to the animal after the meat has been pulverized and torn into tiny little pieces like that.
Delightful doesn’t mean easy, however.
I remember trying to cook pork chops in college and screwing them up so terribly that my friends and I basically gnawed on them and gave up. My attempt at Hoppin’ John was a massive misfire and it scared me off pork chops for a hot minute.
Thin chops, aka breakfast chops, are great for a quick sear in the skillet. They’re easy to flavor, but getting them tender can be a real pain.
Thicker chops require even more work and some cuts of pork are very temperamental. The decades-old practice of reducing the fat content in pork, combined with terrible advice on the minimum safe temperature of pork, led to a lot of us dining on less swine because it was just too difficult to do well.
But while so many swore off swine after a bone-dry pork tenderloin, my parents never gave up on pork chops, because they had a secret. They’ve long used a simple stovetop braise to achieve some juicy, flavorful chops we often served with rice and a side or two of veggies. Because I have a legitimate obsession with my electric pressure cooker (aka Instant Pot), I decided to adapt my mom’s “Creole Pork Chops” into a quick and way-too-delicious #PigOutOKC recipe for you guys.
Here’s a picture of the original recipe, but I’m not sure I’ve ever had it this way, because my mom is a firm believer in not including the stuff she doesn’t like.
As such, I’ve made a few modifications based on how we’ve long prepared it and how to make it work with the Instant Pot.
Electric Pressure Cooker Creole Pork Chops
1 ½ lb thin-cut pork chops/breakfast chops
Salt and pepper
Medium yellow onion, chopped
3 cloves garlic, minced
8 oz. can tomato sauce
1. Pat pork chops dry and season liberally with salt and freshly cracked black pepper. Feel free to use a spice blend like Slap Ya Mama or the like to boost the Creole flavor.
2. Heat a tablespoon of olive oil in a non-stick skillet over medium-low heat, then add pork chops, being careful not to crowd the pan. Cook 30 seconds per side and set aside until all the chops are browned.
3. Add chopped onion and minced garlic to the now-empty pan. As the veggies soften, use a wooden spoon to scrape up any fond left behind by the pork chops. Cook about five minutes, then removed from heat.
4. Add onion and garlic mixture to the electric pressure cooker. Stir in tomato sauce. Using tongs add pork chops to the pot, dipping each one into the sauce.
5. Seal the pressure cooker and set to manual cooking, high pressure, for 25 minutes.
6. When the cooker finishes, allow it to naturally release pressure for 5 minutes, then do quick release.
7. Serve pork chops with rice and a side of asparagus or green beans (or whatever you want, I’m not your dad). Transfer tomato sauce mixture from the pressure cooker to a gravy boat or small bowl and serve on top of chops.
These chops are cooked through, but they’re deeply tender. The tomato-garlic-onion mixture infuses the pork with rich umami flavors that are really excellent on a chilly evening. You can set the table with knives if you like, but these chops are basically waiting to fall apart. I just put my fork on it and twist and the chops kind of shred themselves.
My very picky children love these, especially when I use simple seasonings like salt and pepper. They’re lots of flavor, but not a preponderance of heat, which is important with kids, I’ve found.
The Oklahoma Pork Council represents the interests all of pork producers throughout the state, promoting pork and pork products, funding research and educating consumers and producers about the pork industry. Learn more about the OPC, find recipes and more at OKPork.org.